Meetings in the town of Moreau and village of South Glens Falls were full of surprises in 2017.
At the town, there’s been cursing, shouting matches and even the occasional proposal to go outside for a fistfight.
At the village, new Mayor Harry Gutheil had to make a series of unexpected announcements as key employees resigned and as he uncovered serious problems with paperwork. There are three versions of the current CSEA labor contract, with four pages of differences between them. There were so many different versions of employee handbooks with benefits for non-union workers that the Village Board had to start over again with a new document.
Officials in Moreau and South Glens Falls both hope that next year will bring calmer, quieter meetings.
“I think the bulk of it is behind us,” Gutheil said of the resignations and paperwork errors. “I certainly didn’t expect it to be what I found, but we’re making headway every day.”
He added that he “wouldn’t be surprised” if the new year brings a couple more resignations. And he still hasn’t worked out which CSEA contract is the real one, which is crucial to starting negotiations for a new contract that eliminates one of the current two prescription plans. That’s one of his main goals for 2018.
In the town, new Supervisor Todd Kusnierz is planning to hold much more orderly Town Board meetings.
Under Supervisor Gardner Congdon, meetings often did not follow the agenda, and residents were regularly allowed to interrupt Town Board discussions with their own input. While Congdon felt it created a more democratic experience, meetings often devolved into shouting matches, and board members said they got very few things done.
Meetings will be very different under Kusnierz, he said.
“They’re going to stay on task. They will be structured,” he said. “You don’t just have a meeting to have a meeting. You have meetings to hammer things out, get things done.”